The Dark Side Of Exercise [Sudden Cardiac Death]


Mar 18, 2013
USA / Europe
Ray has written about the strain on the heart and damage seen in long distance runners, etc. It's ironic that ancient civilizations considered chronic exercise as very unhealthy, while the modern world pushes for more and more strenuous activity.

"...Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading medical cause of death in athletes; however, the precise incidence is unknown. The objectives of this review were to examine studies on the rate of SCD in athletes, assess the methodological strengths and weaknesses used to arrive at estimates, compare studies in athletes with estimates in similar populations and arrive at an approximation of the incidence of SCD based on the best available evidence. A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed using key terms related to SCD in athletes. Articles were reviewed for relevance and included if they contained information on the incidence of SCD in athletes or young persons up to the age of 40. The reference list from each manuscript was reviewed for additional relevant articles. The methods for case identification were examined, as well as the inclusion and exclusion criteria and the precision of the population denominator studied. Thirteen studies were found investigating the rate of SCD in athletes who ranged in age from 9 to 40. An additional 15 incidence studies were located examining the rate of SCD in other populations under the age of 40. Rates of SCD varied from 1:917 000 to 1:3000. Studies with higher methodological quality consistently yielded incidence rates in the range of 1:40 000 to 1:80 000. Some athlete subgroups, specifically men, African-American/black athletes and basketball players, appear to be at higher risk. The incidence of SCD in athletes is likely higher than traditional estimates which may impact the development of more effective prevention strategies."
Feb 4, 2015
Sudden cardiac death is extremely rare. It shouldn't be used to justify being sedentary. Should it be used to justify not doing intense, endurance exercises? Well, not really, simply because SCD is extremely rare. SCD isn't the reason to avoid endurance. The main reason to avoid intense endurance exercise as Peat points out, is because of their catabolic stressful responses, not because of SCD. Think about all of the people who run and play sports, globally, from young to 40+. The incidence of SCD, when you look at the whole population who does endurance activities, is very small. Again, that's not saying that people should do endurance exercise for health. It's just that in the bigger picture, the main killers like heart disease and cancer are the real problems.

My interest in non-endurance movement and resistance training is to not wither away into old age. Resistance training helps maintain bone density and muscle consumes fatty acids at rest.

"Incidence of sudden cardiac death in National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes."

BACKGROUND: The true incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in US athletes is unknown. Current estimates are based largely on case identification through public media reports and estimated participation rates. The purpose of this study was to more precisely estimate the incidence of SCD in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student-athletes and assess the accuracy of traditional methods for collecting data on SCD.

METHODS AND RESULTS: From January 2004 through December 2008, all cases of sudden death in NCAA student-athletes were identified by use of an NCAA database, weekly systematic search of public media reports, and catastrophic insurance claims. During the 5-year period, there were 273 deaths and a total of 1 969 663 athlete participant-years. Of these 273 deaths, 187 (68%) were due to nonmedical or traumatic causes, 80 (29%) to medical causes, and 6 (2%) to unknown causes. Cardiovascular-related sudden death was the leading cause of death in 45 (56%) of 80 medical cases, and represented 75% of sudden deaths during exertion. The incidence of SCD was 1:43 770 participants per year. Among NCAA Division I male basketball players, the rate of SCD was 1:3100 per year. Thirty-nine (87%) of the 45 cardiac cases were identified in the NCAA database, only 25 (56%) by use of public media reports, and 9 (20%) from catastrophic claims data.

CONCLUSIONS: SCD is the leading medical cause of death and death during exercise in NCAA student-athletes. Current methods of data collection underestimate the risk of SCD. Accurate assessment of SCD incidence is necessary to shape appropriate health policy decisions and develop effective strategies for prevention."
Feb 4, 2015
I think that the people who do expire from SCD, it shows that they were not in the metabolic and overall energy produced state to be engaging in such acts in the first place. In others words, it wasn't the endurance, it was them. If they had became more energized, they may have not expired. Most people, especially young American NCAA guys, eat crap, i.e. Chipotle, Taco bell and Subway all day.


Apr 24, 2015
short and intense weight lifting training has a lots of benefits. Long aerobic exercise has basically just negative effect on the body and I can compare as I was doing 8 years bodybuilding and 3 years road biking..
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